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Publisher's Summary

A princess isn’t supposed to fall for an evil sorceress. But in this “bewitching and fascinating” (Tamora Pierce) retelling of “Sleeping Beauty”, true love is more than a simple fairy tale.

“Walter’s spellbinding debut is for all the queer girls and women who’ve been told to keep their gifts hidden and for those yearning to defy gravity.” (O: The Oprah Magazine)

Once upon a time, there was a wicked fairy who, in an act of vengeance, cursed a line of princesses to die. A curse that could only be broken by true love’s kiss.

You’ve heard this before, haven’t you? The handsome prince. The happily ever after.

Utter nonsense.

Let me tell you, no one in Briar actually cares about what happens to its princesses. Not the way they care about their jewels and elaborate parties and charm-granting elixirs. I thought I didn’t care, either.

Until I met her.

Princess Aurora. The last heir to Briar’s throne. Kind. Gracious. The future queen her realm needs. One who isn’t bothered that I am Alyce, the Dark Grace, abhorred and feared for the mysterious dark magic that runs in my veins. Humiliated and shamed by the same nobles who pay me to bottle hexes and then brand me a monster. Aurora says I should be proud of my gifts. That she...cares for me. Even though a power like mine was responsible for her curse.

But with less than a year until that curse will kill her, any future I might see with Aurora is swiftly disintegrating - and she can’t stand to kiss yet another insipid prince. I want to help her. If my power began her curse, perhaps it’s what can lift it. Perhaps together we could forge a new world.

Nonsense again. Because we all know how this story ends, don’t we? Aurora is the beautiful princess. And I - 

I am the villain.

Book one of the Malice Duology

©2021 Heather Walter (P)2021 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

“The villain takes center stage in Walter’s superlative debut, a refreshing spin on Sleeping Beauty.... Fairy tale lovers of all ages will be thrilled.” (Publishers Weekly, starred review)

“A truly original and clever retelling of a classic that had me racing to the end - you’ll never look at ‘Sleeping Beauty’ the same way again.” (S. A. Chakraborty, author of the best-selling Daevabad trilogy) 

“Absolutely dazzling! Full of love, power, and betrayal, Malice is as compelling as a spell, as captivating as an enchantment, and as fascinating and delicious as a fairy-tale curse. I loved it!” (Sarah Beth Durst, award-winning author of the Queens of Renthia series) 

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What listeners say about Malice

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Couldn't stop listening.

This book is exactly what I was looking for. LGBT+ representation, fantasy, magic, overcoming oppression, strong women! A somewhat familiar story but unique enough to stand alone. A few predictable parts but it ends strong. I am very pleased with the ending and fingers crossed there's more malice to come. 20 stars!

11 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Good read but disappointing

I love fairytales and was excited to read this but I found that it was very slow paced and the romance was almost non existent. The interactions between the main character and the princess feel like they maybe were friends but any romance is subtle. The books was a good read until it wasn’t. Towards the end I realized there would probably be a sequel because there was no way to wrap anything up but then the author starts adding some major story twist that feel rushed and out of character and I began to lose interest. It had a lot of interesting elements. The world that was created I found very fascinating and the concept over all was great. I probably won’t be getting the sequel.

8 people found this helpful

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Don’t listen while driving

I don’t even know where to begin with this review. First let me start with, yes I can’t wait for the next book. This is a very complex and emotionally challenging book. I almost feel like I’m in an abusive relationship with it. One moment we’re going through the “nice to meet you and learn more about you” phase and you sound a little beaten down and here let me help you carry your baggage to the “meet and greet the friends and family” and now I know why you’re so messed up but you still have that je ne sais quois about you. Then the abuse begins and you’re starting to piss me off. Next is the drowning. There are moments of reprieve but those are far and few between. By the end I’m so immersed I stop breathing until I realize there’s a second book on the horizon. The water recedes, my hope is back and I think maybe 🤔 we can make it.
Honestly the author did such a fabulous job of “authoring” and the narrator did a wonderful job of helping her flesh out the characters that half the time I wanted to pull the protagonist turned antagonist straight from the proverbial pages and slam her on the table! Okay it was all the characters at one time or another. I was so angry through most of this book that it’s good I wasn’t driving or I’m sure there would have been serious road rage on my part. I’m a huge fan of HEAs and hate cliffhangers but here we are. One cliffhanger (check), HEA (?) who knows but as I stated earlier I’m hopeful.

6 people found this helpful

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Sweet Revenge!

I love and hate the way this story ended, but it was oh so sweet revenge. I'll be furious if there's not a sequel, but it's still an amazing novel without one.

5 people found this helpful

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Exceptional

This is a fantastic book. I’m not even sure where to begin with the complex characters. The emotional reactions along with trying to decide who to cheer for and when. Dragons, magic, new love, murder and mayhem! Needless to say I can’t wait for the second book.

4 people found this helpful

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wish I hadn't wasted my time

***not really spoilers, but warned just the same***
I don't often write reviews, but this story was just awful. The main character was not likeable, the story was stilted and none of the relationships made sense. While Alice is tortured by others in the story, it is her "poor pitiful me" attitude that I found the most annoying. She doesn't rise above, she doesn't become a better person, she doesn't see the value she has in and of herself, she doesn't deserve the friends she has. I was so excited to see a different take on a traditional princess story, the plot had so many possibilities. Unfortunately, this story did not deliver. I kept listening hoping that there would be a redeeming quality to the protagonist and she just got worse as the story progressed. She doubts the intentions of everyone that makes an effort to show that they care for her; to the point of making her act hateful towards them (Aurora is made of stronger stuff than me, I would have walked away). However, she is perfectly willing to implicitly trust a random stranger? I wanted this to be a beautiful story of two women looking beyond the exterior to find the beauty that they both held. I wanted them to find their inner strength and build each other up. I wanted this to be about women empowering women. I wanted Alice to find that she was worthy of the love given to her (and to actually be worthy) because of her own value. Instead I got the same trope as all other stories, but instead with girls kissing. The only thing I felt at the end was relief that it was finally over.
I will say that the only redeeming thing about this book was the narration, she really did a wonderful job.

2 people found this helpful

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Great book. Fantastic narrator. Give it a try...

One of the most amazing endings I've heard from an audio book! I won't spoil it but the way the narrator brings the last couple of pages to life gave me goosebumps. The story itself did sag in the middle and the romantic element seemed a bit lackluster but thinking about it later makes sense in character context. It's definitely a solid fairytale book open to end just from a different kind of perspective. Would definitely recommend.

2 people found this helpful

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Beautifully dark

Malice is a beautifully dark novel about a young woman who has been hated and mistreated her entire life. She has been taught to revile her heritage and the magical green blood that runs through her veins, even though people pay well for elixirs made from that blood.

Alyce, called Malyce or mongrel or monster or half-breed, wants nothing more than to escape Briar and be free. That is, until a fateful meeting with a young woman who does not fear Alice’s touch. The two share an instant connection and a shared desire to change Briar for the better. It’s a fragile dream, and so many things threaten to shatter it to pieces.

Malice is filled with twists and turns, with moments of tender hope and tragic loss. It’s a rollercoaster of emotion that kept me reading two days straight. I couldn’t put it down. I cannot wait to read the sequel.

My 14-year-old daughter was just as spell-bound by the audiobook version as I was, proving that it’s just as enchanting for adult readers as young adults and teens.

The LGBTQ+ representation is beautifully done. This is advertised as a “deliciously dark, queer retelling of Sleeping Beauty,” and while I agree with that description, it is so much more than just another retelling. It’s better to say that it’s based on the fairy tale, with so much depth and world-building that the reader barely notices any similarities.

2 people found this helpful

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Very good!

I liked this overall story a lot. It’s definitely a book that makes you feel for the “villain” and makes you happy how she’s gets her payback. A little disappointed in the ending and how long it takes to get to the love scene but I can complain much since I didn’t write it. Overall still a good book but I’m still not sure if I’ll read the sequel. Also the woman who reads it has an amazing voice and it’s living in my brain cause she’s so good!

2 people found this helpful

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Great story, quality performance may cause issues.

Thoroughly enjoyable tale, playing with tropes and fresh ideas. Ms. Gideon provides an excellent variety of voices, however one drawback is the abundance of internal dialogue that is nearly indistinguishable from the main character's voice. Might be better on a reread.

1 person found this helpful

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